Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag review (2023)

our verdict

A beautiful and relentlessly entertaining open world hacking sim filled with interesting 18th century villains.

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Do you expect to pay:£ 40 / $ 60
Share:outside now
Developer:at home
Multiplayer:4 player cooperative
Shortcut:Official Page

Assassins Creed 4 bandera negroIt doesn't really want to be an Assassin's Creed game, and I don't blame it. He seems eager to shed the twisted lore surrounding the eons-long power struggle between Assassins and Templars, which managed to reach new heights of ridiculousness even after this part in the second game when you knock the Pope unconscious, in order to access the alien hologram. . . Black Flag stuffs all of that into a box labeled "Whoops," dumps it down a deep, dark hole, and instead sends it off on third-person assassin missions on the high seas. On Blackbeard's bushy brows, that's a welcome move.

You are Edward Kenway, a villain who loves money so much that he leaves his girlfriend in port and sails to the West Indies in search of a great fortune. In the opening scenes, he steals the hooded robes and wrist guards of an assassin and accidentally runs into a mob of Templars, an evil comedy cartoon team led by a bearded grandmaster and aided by a plate-armored human ogre who throws axes to humans They are looking for the observatory, an ancient device that allows its user to see the location of anyone in the world at any time. The Templars want it because it makes hitting easier, the Assassins want it to stop the Templars, and Kenway wants it because it's probably the most valuable thing on the planet.

(Video) Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag - Review

If that sounds a bit far from hacking and looting, don't worry. After the two-hour tutorial segment, thankfully shorter than in previous Assassin's Creed games, the observatory is relegated to a distant status as a long-term goal, and the story focuses once more on building the pirate paradise of Nassau: a lawless world. small utopia maintained by an assembly of criminals who seek the tranquility of the attention of the law.

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That means Kenway isn't exactly a killer. He has all of the sect's free-running, jumping, and killing abilities—a genetic advantage, it's hinted—but his relationship to the series' morally ambiguous Order of Assassin Monks is ambiguous. This keeps the worst of the plot absurdities at bay and allows you to be a pirate and do pirate things. He hangs out with famous bandits like James Kidd. Watch suave villain Edward Teach turn into a madcap, landscape-munching Blackbeard. Sail the ocean, steal ships, fight the British, seize sea forts, harpoon whales, explore major coastal cities like Havana, and plunder ancient Aztec ruins for treasure. All of this in a beautiful tropical open world that's better lit and hyper detailed on PC.

Much is known about the land. Centers like Havana and Nassau are big, but there are no urban spaces that can match the grandeur and spectacle of Rome or Constantinople. A shame, to be sure, but much remains to be discovered in the settlements scattered throughout the vast Black Flag archipelago. You'll sail between towns with piers on stilts hidden in rocky alcoves, tropical islands teeming with treasure chests, and larger townships like the manicured and orderly Port of Kingston. As always, you'll need to hop on high seats to explore parts of the city, discover chests, shops and side quests in the area, the latest of which includes a welcome increase in assassination missions and warehouse raids in the open world. These place objectives in open areas guarded by British or Spanish forces and invite you to solve the problem creatively.

Such missions feel closer to the original vision of Assassin's Creed than the scripted story segments, which, while vastly improved over Assassin's Creed III's restrictive and flawed offerings, are still too reliant on lengthy follow-up missions. To loot a warehouse, you must first search the area for the key holder, steal it from your pocket (or steal his body), and then make your way to the door without being fired upon by overhead Sniper Muskets and roaming guards. Stealth has been beefed up to make it more interesting. Piercing jungle foliage provides constant cover, and targets can be tagged with Kenway's "Eagle Vision" magical mode, which allows you to track guards through walls. Challenges in previous trivial games. Instead, you have the blowpipe, which can temporarily incapacitate enemies or send them into a frenzy of rage.

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag review (2)

Snipers are a pain perched on tall watchtowers overlooking most restricted areas. They have long-range muskets that can semi-health you with a single shot. The blowpipe is an obvious counter, though the short duration of its sleep effect inspired several comedic runs to knock its victims unconscious before waking up. You can also hug a nearby enemy to use it as a meat shield just before a sniper pulls the trigger, another trick carried over from Assassin's Creed III.

With the addition of explosive barrels that can attract multiple enemies and outbuildings as hideouts, there's room to get creative in your approach to these open-ended challenges. I particularly enjoyed having the guards go against each other. I used weapons thrown by friendly fire victims to take out the snipers who killed them, pushed thugs against their own thrown grenades, and then picked up their abandoned axes to slaughter masses of smaller enemies. Your enemies aren't smart, but it's fun to slaughter them.

You'll want to use the environment a bit more in this way than in other Assassin's Creeds, as Kenway's team has been reduced from previous installments. You can pick up weapons dropped from the ground and use them expertly, but unfortunately you can't carry knives or broadswords, which puts an end to my favorite assassination technique of throwing Claymores over rooftops at enemies. Instead, Edward's hidden blades, a pair of sabers, and a pair of pistols are his hand-to-hand combat problem solvers. Your one-shot mini muskets can be quickly fired mid-combo to loudly thin out surrounding enemies, the rest easily taken down with brutal instant-kill counter moves. Easy to spot thanks to their size and tendency to throw grenades in a fight, more skilled enemies and thugs must first be distracted by a block-breaking move before endlessly backstabbing them. Very large numbers present a challenge, but the main goal of combat is to make you feel deadly. I would like to see tougher fights with more precise strikes and get rid of the mindless disarming moves, but the fight is still an effective and brutal power trip.

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There's plenty to do on Black Flag's many islands, but you'll spend half your time in the waves, on your boat, the Jackdaw. The archipelago map works similarly to smaller cities in that you can't see all the activity available in an area until you've conquered a region's stronghold. After that, you can identify whaling sites, British and Spanish convoys, and sunken shipwrecks. You can use a diving bell to travel underwater to examine these watery remains and dodge sharks to reach the treasure they contain.

(Video) Should You Buy Assassin's Creed Black Flag in 2022? (Review)

Navigation has been almost completely removed from Assassin's Creed III, with a few additional accessibility concessions. By that I mean your boat drives like a bus. The direction of the wind is of little importance. They can stop without dropping anchor and magically roll sideways in ports when docked. I say this to dispel your assumptions about Black Flag being a true sailing sim, not to say it's not fun. Using the boat bus analogy, you shift up and down through four gears to determine your speed. At slower speeds your boat can take tighter turns, at the highest position the camera extends out and offers a majestic view of your boat tearing through the waves. Most of the user interface will be hidden, allowing you to see more of the ocean, and your crew will start singing sea songs. You won't see bloody gums or men overboard here. A romantic take on early 18th century piracy, it is no less compelling.

In Assassin's Creed III, browsing was an experimental section, quite separate from the rest of the game. Black Flag combines naval exploration with the traditional combat and free run systems of Assassin's Creed to excellent results, especially in hijacking ships and capturing forts.

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To take a ship, you must first turn it into a burning wreck using cannons, mortars, fire tubes, and various types of shells. Your weapons are contextually selected based on the direction you are pointing. Point the camera to the sides of your ship and you'll deal damage with your broadside weapon, using trajectory indicators that narrow and allow you to shoot through the waves. Aim past the bow and you'll fire a chainshot that rips the enemy's sails and slows their movement. If you aim back, you'll find yourself throwing barrels of fire overboard that act like floating mines.

If you pulverize a ship without sinking it, you can come alongside and board, ordering your men to use grappling lines to bring both ships onto a single battlefield. You can then attack the enemy deck by jumping between their interlocking masts or swinging on a daring Errol Flynn rope swing.

It's an impressive engineering feat and one of the most exciting things I've done in a game this year. Given the wealth of features in their recent games, it's a relief to see Ubisoft successfully bring previously disparate systems into cohesive events like this. From plant-harvesting and animal-skinning in Far Cry 3 to Assassin's Creed III's useless home-improvement minigames, successive sequels have shipped with more irrelevant systems while existing ones haven't been refined. In Black Flag, systems like the economic model that allows you to upgrade the Jackdaw are much more rewarding.

In the latter, you upgrade your weapons and armor with the materials and money you get from hacking. This allows you to take on larger ships that present different challenges on a naval and melee level. The largest ships are equipped with advanced weaponry and carry captains, snipers and other tough enemies on board. As you commit more acts of piracy, your wanted level will increase and you will be pursued by hunter ships, known for their ominous red sails. At the highest level, you can take on huge "legendary ships" hidden around the map. It's a good budget system, designed to handle a number of growing challenges, not provide unnecessary padding.

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However, Black Flag will try to waste your time a bit. The ship upgrade system is good, but the side quest that lets you send captured ships on missions around the world for cash rewards is rubbish, aided by a painfully weak turn-based ship combat minigame. The near-future sections make an unwelcome return and are more useless than ever. Silly Desmond Miles is gone. Now you roam the smug offices of the evil Abstergo corporation from a first-person perspective as an employee tasked with filtering Desmond's genetic memories in search of hilarious pirate moments to put into their latest entertainment product, an entertainment product that gives to understand that it is you. He's not half as smart as he thinks, but these parts only take about five minutes every few hours of main quest progression. Far Cry 3's crafting system is also airdropped, which means he'll need to hunt animals to skin them and use their bones to upgrade his gear or add extra pistols to his holster.

This tedious job is easily circumvented in favor of the dozens of alternative missions available. The same applies to multiplayer, which returns in a familiar form. Similar to previous installments, you can join up to eight player sessions that put players in predator and prey roles. In predator mode, you have to hunt down players who try to disguise themselves and hide in small arenas on city blocks, earning extra points for exotic kills. As prey, you take a hidden position and hope for the best. It's still an interesting idea for a multiplayer mode, but there aren't enough ways to trick and counter opponents to keep it interesting for more than an hour, and the more traditional modes, like capturing checkpoints, are too chaotic to keep the competition going. . There's also a "Wolfpack" cooperative mode in which up to four players charge up and kill marked enemies to add seconds to a fast-moving timer. The rush to assassinate enemies before your allies steal your coordination or finesse you want to muster for each target, which means you're not a murderer, you're just a stabbing mob. Multiplayer is a novel distraction for a few hours, but there's a lot more entertaining action in the single player portion.

Whatever Assassin's Creed 2007 tried to be, it's now buried under generations of features, but that's not a bad thing. Black Flag can best be seen as a collage of the games and technology that Ubisoft has cultivated over the past decade. There are strong Prince of Persia markings in the platforming challenges of the Aztec ruins of the archipelago. You can put on the rags of the hunters and travel the world in search of rare loot. The sail is a great item in its own right. Some of these aspects have been improved upon in other games, but through brute force, Black Flag's various components blend beautifully into a rich and consistently interesting world.

When the tutorial section is complete, the game will drop you into the ocean and place a distant objective marker on the western edge of the map. It took me four hours to get to this marker. I was involved in a dynamic naval battle between the British and Spanish forces. I sailed through a storm and plundered merchant ships that were torn apart by its troubled waters. I speared a bull shark. I docked in a strange little cove and got into a fistfight in a bar. Forget about the Assassins, the Templars and their senseless warfare. Loot, pillage and steal instead. The rewards are much greater.

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Assassins Creed 4 bandera negro

A beautiful and relentlessly entertaining open world hacking sim filled with interesting 18th century villains.

(Video) Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag - 9 Years Later

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag review (6)

older tom

(Video) Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag - Review

As a member of the UK team, Tom has been with PC Gamer since the start of the site's launch, first as a news writer and then as an online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, action and hack 'n slash games, digital card games... basically anything that will fit on a hard drive. The final boss form of him is Deckard Cain.

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